Nidaa al-Watan: the capital of the North under the microscope of ambassadors of Western countries: projects, aid … and anticipating the electoral climate

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Ghada Halawi-

As if the northern capital was distancing itself from the Byzantine controversy over government. The city is trying to shake off the sediments of the past and return to the map of international attention after it lost hope for its sons, including ministers, MPs and former presidents. The interest in Tripoli is not local as usual. Rather, it is a remarkable international interest that was evident in the frequent visits of Western ambassadors to it. Within a decade, that is, since the days of the “Fatah al-Islam” organization in 2007, Tripoli has lived a rupture with the West, and an ambassador did not come to visit it except with a heavily armed security escort. But it seems that the scene today has completely changed, as the ambassadors of the major and most influential countries in Lebanon have opened frequent visits to the city, starting with the American ambassador Dorothy Shea, to the French woman Ann Greyu, who visited Tripoli and Akkar for three consecutive days, and the Canadian, the Swiss and the Swedish, up to the point of inviting the American ambassador to her fellow ambassadors. For a lunch in their honor in Tripoli. Some try to give these visits an exploratory and security character, but there is no doubt that they carry direct political messages. These ambassadors avoided meeting any political officials in the city and insisted on meeting with economic, religious and civil actors and focused more on personalities from civil society.

The security preoccupation was not present in their meetings. Rather, they tried to anticipate the future and find out how and the mechanism of activating the city’s economy, its facilities, port and its chronic problems, from the marginalization of the city to the food and health needs to the great French interest in the issue of education. It goes without saying that France has already paid the premiums of 9,000 students in Lebanon in schools linked to the French, and for the first time in its history, it donated more than one million euros to the city of Tripoli exclusively for food and health relief aid.

If the countries do not carry out charitable work, but rather that their contributions usually take into account their interests and aspirations, it seems that Tripoli, the Mediterranean city with the historic port adjacent to the ports of Lattakia and Tartous, for investors from Iran and Russia, has its strategic importance for them, as evidenced by the fact that the French international company CMA-CGM acquired Gulftainer’s shares. , Which was operating the container dock in the port of Tripoli. There is interest from the Americans and the French in the exclusive economic zone and its offshoots at the Rashid Karami International Fair, where they are studying the possibility of using Tripoli as a foothold for a political, economic and investment presence with competition or integration between the two most influential countries.

As a matter of harmony with civil society and far from the politicians, Western diplomats have knocked on the doors of the northern capital, and they have intersected with the meeting with the main political and social actors in Tripoli, including Dr. Khaldoun Al-Sharif. Their countries. And it was clear through the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State David Hale that the American is interested in maritime demarcation and attaches importance to everything else, while the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian intended the Baath Party with letters through his refusal to meet any political official other than the official officials, and for protocol reasons. When he received Prime Minister Saad Hariri, he hastened to say that he welcomed you as a president assigned to form a government, not as the head of a political movement. And it seems that this diplomatic movement is expanding as the city prepares to receive the Turkish ambassador next week, which can be understood as a response to the visit of the French ambassador in the first place, while the visit of the Saudi ambassador to the northern capital, Walid Buhari, is awaiting the clarity of the latest drug trafficking case. The city’s activities confirm that Tripoli has not lost sight of the Egyptian radar.

Some political circles attribute to those affected by the movement of foreign ambassadors the threatening of the security of the city, especially with the burning of the office of the battalions and the infirmary of the forces and the launch of a shell at Jabal Mohsen and the attempt to undermine the security of Tripoli to return to the first square, but it seems that there is no Lebanese or regional political opinion covering actions This kind of thing allowed the Army Intelligence to arrest the perpetrators of these acts within hours.

The people of the city consider that Tripoli is facing a challenge, either to present itself in a new and serious way and in a professional manner, or to remain where it is. It remains that the wave of western visits to Tripoli coincides with the international interest in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Lebanon, as the international community began to monitor the performance of political forces and civil and social actors to find out the course of Tripoli’s electoral air as well as the rest of the regions in Lebanon, and it can be said that the electoral movement actually started in the north, inaugurated by the movement’s machine. The electoral future, which began collecting information, was preceded by the campaign to distribute the Chinese vaccine against Covid 19 to a large number of people, which was interpreted as the first in the electoral movement of the future.

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